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Happy Holidays From Chiang Mai!

It’s been a crazy month in Thailand … at least from my perspective. I celebrated my birthday for the third time in Thailand, and for the third time at the Rainbow Bar. My friends there never let me down. I didn’t even tell them I was going to show up, but when I did (of course I did), there were birthday balloons and decorations all over the bar, a cake, a bottle of champagne, and nearly everyone I know stopped by at one time or another throughout the night. I received a lot of chocolate as gifts. Apparently, it’s obvious I like the stuff! I had a great time, had too much to drink, and thankfully made it back to my room intact.

The following day, I received a phone call from the Rainbow Bar’s owner, letting me know the 16-year-old son of my friend (an employee there) had been killed in a motorbike accident. I can’t imagine the pain she must feel, losing a child. He was just at my house a few weeks before sanding some old wooden furniture for me in order to make a little cash. He was a good kid, watched out for his mom, and wasn’t afraid of work. He was wearing his helmet at the time of the accident, but passed away in the hospital due to internal injuries. It seems unfair an old guy celebrates another year on this earth, while a young man is taken from us so early. It was a sobering reminder to live life in the best way you know how, and never take for granted the ones you love. I hope my friend can find peace.

They don’t really celebrate Christmas in Thailand, being a Buddhist country, but there are Christmas trees and decorations all over. Since I live alone, I don’t really have much desire to put up a tree or any decorations for that matter. I’m sentimental about some things, but Christmas isn’t really one of them. I do occasionally hear Christmas songs on YouTube (including “Baby It’s Cold Outside”), and I enjoy watching Christmas classics on TV (including “Die Hard”). I am thankful for the fact there is no “Black Friday” or any type of holiday shopping madness. I can go to the mall and it’s just like any other shopping day of the year. Maybe on Christmas I’ll invite a couple of friends over for some egg nog and put the ol’ fireplace video on, while forcing them to listen to Michael Buble’s Christmas songs; or maybe I’ll just “go out amongst ‘em,” as my grandfather used to say.

I hope everyone reading this is having a wonderful holiday season, whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, or Festivus. If it’s the latter, I hope you’re up to performing the “Feats of Strength.”

Take Care Everyone!